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Small business advice for the solo entrepreneur: Start with a deep and narrow niche

Friday, August 3, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristina Moy
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By Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian

Choose one of Jackie Babicky Peterson's self-descriptions: A "recovering CPA," or "a big connector of the dots." Or perhaps, "the untangler."

They bubble out when Peterson talks, and they're all apt. But they fall short. What Peterson really does is pull away the shroud that separates people from their business dreams.

She is among the advisors at Portland Community College's Small Business Development Center. Her four-week class, taught with a workbook she wrote titled "Better, Smarter, Richer," helps budding entrepreneurs figure out how to make a living doing what they love.

In Peterson, a veteran businesswoman with deep connections in Portland's business and political circles, they have an enthusiastic coach and cheerleader.

"Entrepreneurship is very alive and well and bubbling in the United States of America," she says.

Her optimism is grounded in numbers. Baby boomers are hitting age 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day, according to the Pew Research Center, which has public policy thinkers flapping about the health care, housing and workforce implications. Peterson looks at that number and sees booming economic opportunity, baby.

That huge cohort of Americans is the next wave of entrepreneurs, she says. Many of them leave the workplace financially stable, healthy and loaded with experience. Primed, Peterson believes, to pursue what they've wanted to do all these years.

"They're going to look at their own lives and say, 'Let's do this,'" she says.

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